Although the nightmare involving the deadly new variant of COVID-19 has begun to frustrate people, the arrival of the vaccine has changed the grim narrative and injected a lot of optimism. However, it is always believed that people who are at high risk of serious illness after contracting COVID-19 and those who have weakened immune systems and may not be able to respond strongly to the vaccine need to be treated. In the past few months, significant progress has been made in the development of effective antibody-based therapies. Currently, three of these drugs have received emergency use approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology jointly developed a drug of this type, Sotrovimab. Previously, in a large collaborative study in 2003, scientists discovered a natural antibody in the blood of SARS survivors The breadth and effectiveness of the product.
This antibody is called S309. Experiments have shown that it neutralizes all known SARS-CoV-2 strains, including newly emerged mutants, which are reflected in the “escape” from previous antibody therapies and the closely related original SARS-CoV virus .
According to a report by SciTechDaily, Jay Nix, head of the Molecular Biology Consortium at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS), performed X-ray crystallographic analysis on survivors’ antibody samples in the early stages of the study. This helps to generate a structural diagram of how these antibodies are fused with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, so that developers can choose the most promising antibodies. Based on the laboratory results, they designed Sotrovimab.
In May, the FDA approved Sotrovimab for emergency use after trials showed that compared with placebo, the hospitalization rate or mortality rate of treated patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 infection was reduced by 85%.
However, considering the possibility of new mutations, the researchers started a follow-up study to further explore such antibodies. In the process, they discovered an antibody with unparalleled potency. Nix said the antibody seems to “neutralize all known sarbecoviruses-the coronavirus that causes respiratory infections in mammals,” making it “more difficult for new strains to escape.”